(Only three, you say?) I’ve taken a step into the self-publishing arena by releasing a short story anthology – Sex, Death and Moist Towelettes – and have a single story released separately as a sampler – Dark Kiss.
I’ve also released my first non-fiction book “One Author’s Aha Moments – Writing Revelations with a Focuson the Young Adult Market.” This non-fiction book is geared toward aspiring authors. My advice comes from my personal experiences on writing fiction for adult and teen markets and what has worked for me. Topics include: Young Adult fiction themes, voice, and characteristics; how to create characters editors look for & give them a unique voice; plot structure that even a non-plotter can love; how to hook your book; the writer’s life, goal setting, editing, book promotion and more. I hope my book will kindle a fire in aspiring authors to write—a passion worth pursuing.
Today I wanted to share some things that surprised me about self-publishing and to share my early journey.
1.) Bundled versus Ala Carte Service Providers – I thought this would be an easy decision to use a service provider who does it all: formatting, editing, cover design, etc. I’d rather spend my time writing than figuring out formatting. But after getting experience with bundled services versus ala carte service providers, I found it may pay to work separately with a few key players (a formatter, cover designer, and copy editor) that I trust. That type of relationship takes time to build upon. Editors are one facet of the business where an indie author should consider developing a close working relationship on all sizes of projects. I love my editor at Harlequin Teen and needed to find someone that challenges me as much as my HQTeen editor does. When you self-publish, you get a say in how that goes, even if it takes time to find that one right person. The same goes for cover design. For certain projects, I can choose to do my own cover and keep the idea simple. But for bigger projects, I have some “go to” folks that I trust.
2.) Distribution Takes Time & Decisions Need to be Made – I can’t believe I 'm saying this, but on certain projects, I may decide to set up a production schedule in the future. For my non-fiction print book – One Author’s Aha Moments – I didn’t realize that it would take 6 weeks for CreateSpace to distribute my print book to the various retailers. Launching my book had to be done in e-book first. Once I get my POD print books, I’ll consider doing more contests. But I still like being able to make those decisions and with the virtual shelf life, I’m in it for the long haul and not just the first few months. This time it didn‘t hurt me, but it’s definitely something to consider.
3.) Indie Authors Have a Different Focus for their Online Presence – I spent time setting up profiles on places that I’ve never considered because my house handled this, sites like OverDrive that gets my book into libraries. If an author has 10 titles or more, they can be set up at OverDrive as a publisher. I updated my profile at LibraryThing, Shelfari, Goodreads, and Amazon Central (where I can update my own reviews & endorsements). These are all free and authors should take advantage of this promo op. Having profiles in multiple spots is a way of extending your brand and your name, plus it creates more hits on the Internet. This gives the perception that you as an author are “all over the place.”
Right now I’m working angles on getting reviews, setting up guest spots with bloggers, and conducting contests. Some blogs don’t do e-books, but I’ve made notes of sites that do. It takes time to work these kinks out. I hope to post more on my self-publishing adventures as I discover new things. I hope you’ll follow ADR3NALIN3 in the weeks ahead.
In the mean time, I have a contest on my Fringe Dweller YA blog or hit the link on the ADR3NALIN3 side bar. Click on my cover “One Author’s Aha Moments” to see how to enter. I’ve giving away FIVE e-books and the contest ends June 30th. Good luck to everyone who enters!